Meridian has always been a close-knit company, a place where family members working together are a common sight. Meridian is now bringing that family tradition from Teterboro to Rio for the 2016 Olympic Games. Keith Carlyle, a pilot for Meridian Air Charter, and his daughter, Taylor, an assistant in Human Resources, have traveled to Rio de Janiero to cheer on fellow family member Ryan Carlyle. Ryan, daughter to Keith and sister to Taylor, is playing for the Women’s US Rugby Team and competing for a gold medal in Rio.
Ryan Carlyle has been an Olympian-in-training since she was an athlete in high school. Her early sports career has included softball, indoor track, basketball, and soccer. She was recognized as All-County and All-Region in all four years of high school. She was also recognized as All-American softball shortstop, and then went on to play softball at University of South Carolina. While in college, she played competitive club soccer and also began competing as a body builder and figure competitor in 2007. In 2008, she received her amateur card through the National Physique Committee, and then qualified for a national pro competition in 2010 after placing second in Regionals.
Ryan began playing club rugby in Columbia, SC, where she was recognized as All-American and was invited to her first national elite trials camp in January 2010. In 2011, she was invited on tour to Hong Kong 7s and has been to every camp since. She took a semester off from law school in 2011 to play with the San Diego Surfers in the Women’s Premier League (WPL) and train with the Eagles part-time. The Surfers won the 7s National Championship and placed 5th in the WPL. She began training with the Eagles full-time in late 2012 and became a resident in 2013. She won bronze at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 and was named to Team USA’s 12-player Rugby Sevens squad for the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games.
USA Rugby announced that 12 athletes and eight staff members will represent Team USA in the first Rugby Sevens competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Rugby Sevens will make its debut at Rio 2016, but this will not be the first time the sport has appeared in the Olympic Games. The “classical” version, with 15 players on each side, was played at Paris 1900, London 1908, Antwerp 1920 and Paris 1924. In a seven-a-side version of rugby union, two teams attempt to score tries or win penalties, moving an oval-shaped ball from player to player by hand, always passing it backwards. It is a faster, shorter adaption of the classical version. This is the first time that rugby has been played in the Olympics since 1924, and it will be the first time ever for women’s rugby. All matches will be played at Deodoro Stadium from August 6-8.
On the grass field, the game pace is fast, and athletes combine speed and strength. For the first time in more than 90 years, rugby arrives in Rio 2016 with the promise of winning new fans and followers. Men’s and women’s tournaments are comprised of 12 teams each. Teams play against each other in matches of two halves of seven minutes each. The key to winning is to break the rival’s defense using resistance, technique and strategy. Tries are the highlight in a match – scores that occur when the ball is held on the opponent’s field after crossing the goal’s line. Fans usually watch matches wearing costumes creating a Carnival atmosphere that perfectly matches the spirit of Rio 2016.
The 2016 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad and commonly known as Rio 2016, is a major international multi-sport event in the tradition of the Olympic Games as governed by the International Olympic Committee, being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Games will run from August 5-21, 2016.
More than 11,000 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees are taking part. With 306 sets of medals, the games features 28 Olympic sports, including rugby sevens and golf, which were added by the International Olympic Committee in 2009. These sporting events are taking place at 33 venues in the host city as well as at five venues in the cities of São Paulo (Brazil’s largest city), Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Brasília (Brazil’s capital), and Manaus.